Glutamate is the main excitatory transmitter in the brain, while ATP represents the most important energy currency in any living cell. Yet, these chemicals play an important role in both processes, enabling them with dual-acting functions in metabolic and intercellular signaling pathways. Glutamate can fuel ATP production, while ATP can act as a transmitter in intercellular signaling. We discuss the interface between glutamate and ATP in signaling and metabolism of astrocytes. Not only do glutamate and ATP cross each other’s paths in physiology of the brain, but they also do so in its pathology. We present the fabric of this process in (patho)physiology through the discussion of synthesis and metabolism of ATP and glutamate in astrocytes as well as by providing a general description of astroglial receptors for these molecules along with the downstream signaling pathways that may be activated. It is astroglial receptors for these dual-acting molecules that could hold a key for medical intervention in pathological conditions. We focus on two examples disclosing the role of activation of astroglial ATP and glutamate receptors in pathology of two kinds of brain tissue, gray matter and white matter, respectively. Interventions at the interface of metabolism and signaling show promise for translational medicine.
- Brain ischemia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience